In an era where shredding and playing-as-fast-as-you-possibly-can for no apparent reason have become a norm, it was a pleasure to listen to a guitar being nurtured as the beautiful classic musical instrument that it is.
Almond and Coffee is the first solo effort from guitarist Fabrizio La Piana. It features seven original songs, all of them composed by Piana, with bassist Bernhard Hollinger and drummer Niels Voskuil forming the core of this trio providing more than just a solid foundation.
The hauntingly clever and melodic piece entitled “Funky Song” kicks off La Piana’s stylish offering. Soft and intelligent guitar progressions lead in to the scintillating chops, courtesy of Voskuil. As is the case through the majority of Almond and Coffee, La Piana’s compositions and arrangements are precise and well designed.
From the delicate and sultry “Almond and Coffee” to the subdued yet jazzy “Pulice,” La Piana displays a fine and nuanced touch that I alluded to at the outset.
“50-50” rivals “Rokin” for being my favorite song in this set. Hollinger and Voskuil shine along with La Piana on this latter slow burn. This tune is a great example of staying nifty all up and down the line without rushing.
La Piana’s approach is cemented in patience and thoughtfulness. The pacing and tempo comfortably allows time to breathe and absorb the subtleties and distinctions that are well crafted in this stellar debut.